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Five cities dedicate light rail lines

01 Jul 2004

A SERIES of service inaugurations saw five North American cities open new or rebuilt light rail lines last month.

Pittsburgh kicked off on June 2 by restoring service on the Overbrook line after a major rebuild costing $386m (MR04 p36). The whole route is now double-track with many curves eased, and eight new stations have been constructed.

Sacramento was next with a 4·5 km extension from Mather Field to Sunrise Boulevard including three new stations opening as scheduled on June 12. Free rides were offered, although the planned ceremonies were cancelled because of former President Reagan's funeral. The project cost $89m, and a further 12·5 km to Folsom is on course to open in 2005.

San Jose's Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority dedicated on June 23 a 13·km extension with 11 stations from the former I-880/Milpitas terminus to Alum Rock, built at a cost of US$282m.

Minneapolis expected to open the first 12·9 km segment of its Hiawatha line on June 26, despite concerns over cracks in welded joints that occurred during very cold weather in February 2003 and January 2004. The Twin Cities thus join the growing ranks of US light rail operators (MR04 p28).

Calgary was scheduled to open a 2·9 km extension of its South line on June 28. This will add new stations at Shawnessy and Somerset-Bridlewood (RG 12.03 p795).